Accuracy and Trust of Self-Testing for Bacterial Vaginosis
PurposeTwo point-of-care tests are available to detect bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal condition. This study aimed to (1) compare the accuracy of two self-performed BV tests with clinician-performed BV tests and with clinical diagnosis of BV; and (2) compare trust of results for self-performed BV testing with clinician-performed BV testing.Methods Participants (14–22 years old) in a study assessing self-testing for Trichomonas vaginalis were also asked to perform a self-test for BV (using a pH or sialidase test). Results were compared with clinician-performed tests and with clinical diagnosis of BV (defined by modified Amsel criteria). A two-item subscale from a larger acceptability scale was used to assess trust at baseline, after testing, and after discussion of results.ResultsAll 131 women performed self-BV testing correctly. Agreement between self- and clinician-performed tests was good (κ: .5–.7) Compared with clinical diagnosis of BV, self-pH was 73% sensitive and 67% specific, and self-sialidase was 40% sensitive and 90% specific. Trust in self-performed BV testing was lower than trust in clinician-performed BV testing at baseline, but increased after testing and discussion of results.Conclusions Young women can perform self-tests for BV with reasonable accuracy, which could increase testing when pelvic examinations are not feasible. Trust in self-testing increased after experience and after discussion of test results. Although the pH test is available over the counter, young women may continue to rely on clinicians for testing.